New York City is looking for a creative way to use its old payphones and it may have finally found a solution. According to a report in GigaOM, the city is converting its payphones into free WiFi hotspots for both visitors and residents.
The pilot program will equip ten pay phones in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan with WiFi. Each pay phone will deliver a solid WiFi signal for up to 300 feet. People who want to connect to the WiFi service can visit the NYC’s tourism site and agree to the terms of usage. Once you accept the terms, you’re free and clear to start browsing on your tablet or smartphone. If successful, the plan is to extend the service to all five boroughs.
With over 13,000 pay phones in the city, that’s a lot of WiFi coverage. The service is being offered by Van Wagner Communications which owns many of these payphones. It’s ad-free for now, but that likely won’t last as each installation costs $2000.